‘Impeach the president? Is that all?’

News Hits had gone to press by the time of the May 29 panel discussion of impeachment of Bush and Cheney. MT intern Jonathan Eppley brings us this report:

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are lying to the country and leading us astray, according to Maureen Taylor, state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. "They are able to get away with this snake stuff because we won’t stand up," she said at a town hall-style meeting on Tuesday.

Taylor was one of six panelists who spoke to a crowd of hundreds in a hot and humid auditorium at the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit about the need to impeach both Bush and Cheney.

"Impeach the president? Is that all?" Taylor said. "Talk about impeachment. We should’ve gone to the White House and kicked his ass."

Other panelists were longtime civil rights lawyer Bill Goodman, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and Detroit City Council member JoAnn Watson, Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry and retired Army colonel and diplomat Ann Wright.

The National Lawyers Guild, Green Party, World Can’t Wait Organization and other groups organized the meeting.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern used to prepare the president’s daily briefs when he worked for the CIA, and is a former chair for the National Intelligence Estimate. He knows firsthand what the president knows and what he has lied about to the country. "These people do not tell the truth," he said.

McGovern isn’t the only one who has witnessed firsthand the deceit of the current administration. Ann Wright also knows the invasion and occupation of Iraq was forged under false pretenses. She says it was wrong and that American troops don’t belong there. In response to the invasion, she did what she said any self-respecting patriot would do, she resigned. The panelists and audience members called for impeachment to repeated cheers. Lessenberry played the devil’s advocate and said the panel was only preaching to the choir; everyone in the room seemed to be a supporter of impeachment.

The panelists urged the audience to speak out and voice their opinions about impeachment. They said that the only way Bush and Cheney could be impeached is if Americans speak up. If enough Americans speak out to their representatives in Congress, impeachment is possible.

Members of the Congress would be forced to listen to their constituents if they want to retain their seats in the next elections. "Your jobs are on the line. You’re not going to get re-elected unless you get this done," Wright said to representatives and senators in abstentia. One of them, in particular, was the subject of discussion through the evening.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. — a one-time proponent of impeachment who has shifted course since the Democrats took the House in the last election — was scheduled to be a panelist. He showed up briefly before heading off to a concurrent town hall meeting on gas prices, although he promised to return. The meeting broke up without Conyers returning.

Like many at the meeting retired Redford Union school teacher Ruth Schettenhelm expressed anger about the state of the nation, saying both Bush and Cheney should be impeached for lying to the country "I’m still fuming about the first election he stole from (Al) Gore," she said.

Schettenhelm said that we can’t just impeach one — Bush or Cheney — we have to impeach them both. But she also fears it may be too late to get the impeachment process started. She said that by the time everything would be in motion to impeach, the next presidential election will be upon us and Bush and Cheney will get off scot-free.

Others argued that there were compelling reasons to push for impeachment, even if time is short.

In the history of the America only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon chose to resign rather than face impeachment.

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